Five pavilions (plus one) not to be missed at the Biennale Arte

Over 330 artists and collectives living in 80 countries, including Hong Kong, Palestine and Puerto Rico. Eighty-seven national participations in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, at the Arsenale and in the historic center of Venice. Four countries are present at the Biennale Arte for the first time: the Republic of Benin, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Timor Leste and the United Republic of Tanzania. The Republic of Panama and Senegal are participating for the first time with their own pavilion.

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Here are the five (plus one) pavilions not to be missed

1. Japan – Gardens

A sort of enormous distiller in operation, electrodes sticking out of rotting fruit, the smell of mold and decay and then the discovery: the electricity needed to power a series of low voltage light bulbs is produced entirely by rotting fruit. A work by Yuko Mohri (Kanagawa, 1980), which makes us reflect on the meaning and resources of nature. Curious, stimulating, engaging (even simply due to the emanation of a humid scent of flowers which adds the sense of smell to the other senses involved in the experience).


2. Poland – Gardens

The work of the Ukrainian artistic collective Open Group is decidedly touching. The exhibition, titled “Repeat after Me II,” features two videos depicting refugees from the war in Ukraine repeating the sounds of bullets, cannon fire, sirens and explosions, accompanied by text describing a lethal weapon . Sounds, familiar to the members of the collective and emphasized in a disturbing way by the use of microphones, almost suggesting the possibility of karaoke, almost indicating “the soundtrack of a war”.

3. Italy – Arsenale

Overloaded with stimuli, the arrival at the Italian Pavilion is a sort of oasis of peace. The one born from the collaboration between the artist Massimo Bartolini (Cecina, 1962) and the curator Luca Cerizza is in fact a minimal, almost zen pavilion (a very suitable word given that a tiny figurine of the Bodhisattva thinker appears in the center of an immense room). Alongside this, the installation Due qui/To Hear, a hymn to the importance of listening and pausing. Here, in a forest of scaffolding, some mechanical organs produce continuous melodies around a circular basin where a wave harmoniously repeats itself.

4. Ropemaking – Arsenale

Maps, cultures, travels, wanderings, migrations. The theme of the 60th edition raised to the nth degree in every aspect and from every perspective. At the center of the incredible spaces of the Arsenal of Venice (which in themselves are worth a visit) there is an interesting installation in which on about ten giant screens some hands trace the maps of their migration, describing the stages and reasons.

5. United States – Gardens

For the first time, an indigenous and queer artist, Jeffrey Gibson, makes his historic appearance at the United States Pavilion with “The space in which to place me”. Accompanied by curators Abigail Winograd and Kathleen Ash-Milby, members of the Navajo Nation and experts on Native American art at the Portland Art Museum, Gibson transforms the pavilion into a vibrant tribute to the marginalized and oppressed cultures in their ancestral lands. Through paintings, visual poems, and bead sculptures adorned with motifs typical of Indian tribes, Gibson’s work offers a powerful reflection of the struggles and experiences of indigenous communities.

5+1. Vatican – Venice women’s prison

The Pavilion of the Holy See entitled “With my eyes” (Bruno Racine and Chiara Parisi) is set up in a place decidedly different from those usually used for the Art Biennale: the Giudecca women’s prison. It is a unique and unprecedented journey: the works are the result of the meeting between the artists and the eighty inmates and the visit itself is a meeting between the public and the guests of the penal institution.

By Editor

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